Five thousand people have already signed “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment” from 67 countries so far! That just in the 5 weeks since the statement was published at ecopagan.com on the Spring Equinox. That’s half-way to to the goal of 10,000 signatures by Summer Solstice (or Winter Solstice if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere — and plenty of the signatories are).
This summer, the Pope is expected to publish a statement on the environment. It is possible that the Pope may mention “paganism” in his environmental statement (his predecessor, Pope Benedict, did). However, in the past, Pope Francis has made statements (like this and this and this) which make it clear he has no idea what Paganism actually is. For the Pope, “paganism” (small “p”) is synonymous with “worldliness”. Thus, he speaks of “pagan Christians”, by which he means Christians who don’t live their values.
But we shouldn’t hold it against the Pope that he doesn’t know that we Pagans exist. Even while our numbers continue to grow worldwide, we have historically had difficulty speaking in harmony with each other, even on the important issues of the day. And as a result, the strength of our “signal” has sometimes been distorted by the cacophony of our diverse voices. Speaking “in harmony” with each other does not mean everyone being of one mind or agreeing on every point. We Pagans often speak of attuning ourselves to nature and the cycles of the Earth. But we can also “attune” to one another, temporarily setting aside our egos and prioritizing our individual disagreements, when a collective voice is urgently needed, as it is now. If there is any issue on which we Pagans should be able to speak harmoniously, it is on the issue of the desecration of the environment.
While the Pope’s statement is being treated by the media as a historical event, the Pagan environmental statement is historical too. Pagan Priestess and Witch, M. Macha NightMare, has explained the significance of the statement in this way:
“The final statement was a months-long … complex collaboration of diverse Pagans. That fact in itself is, to me, remarkable, given that Pagans can be a fractious lot. For me personally, the fact that this exists demonstrates a certain sense of solidarity. We Pagans are a fringe demographic, and each Pagan path, sect, and individual is an even smaller fringe demographic. We tend to work hard at distinguishing ourselves one from the other. And that tends to fragment us as a demographic. So when this many Pagans from many Pagan perspectives can come together and manage to agree on something of paramount importance to all of us, and to publicly proclaim our stance — well, that speaks to a stronger presence in society, and perhaps a louder, clearer voice not usually heard in the clamor of other Abrahamic dominion-inclined, religio-spiritual voices. I think Pagans bring an important perspective to society. And I think if this small effort can grow big enough, we might actually make a difference beyond ourselves. Needless to say, this statement is meant to be noticed. … Of course, all the words in the world won’t make a difference unless we follow them with action.”
The publication of the Pope’s environmental statement this summer is an ideal opportunity for us to share a Pagan vision of ecological sustainability with the world. Let us come together to add our collective voice to those already raised in opposition to the wholesale destruction of all life on earth, and thereby show the world why call ourselves “Pagans”, the “people of the land”.
You can help by:
- Signing the statement at ecopagan.com if you haven’t already,
- Sharing the statement with 5 Pagan friends by a personal Facebook message (PM) or by email,
- Promoting the statement to the members of your Pagan organization through your email list, mailing list, or newsletter.